The Get Up Kids / Miniature Tigers - live in Brooklyn (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Get Up Kids / Miniature Tigers

live in Brooklyn (2011)

live show

An 8:00 show time apparently meant very little to those coming to the Get Up Kids' return to Brooklyn. The venue was embarrassingly sparse for local Brian Bonz and his backing band, the Major Crimes, who were opening things up. Bonz was decked out in a beige wool suit, looking like a strange Miami Vice reject but sounding like the cooing, angelic lovechild of Björk and Kevin Drew, per usual. The seven-piece stocked their half-hour set with songs from their two latest albums, 2009's smooth debut From Sumi to Japan and last year's more esoteric and narrative The Triborough Odyssey. Bonz was a charming frontman, cracking jokes and giving background, like a condensed story about his first time going to a strip club in Queens pre-facing "Men, Voice, War". Brother guitarist Mike Strandberg was a crucial member too, however, putting on an entertaining one-man show with a ton of spastic, entertaning energy. A solid opening set that few caught.

Set list:

  1. Terror in the Bonneville
  2. Doo Wop (That Thing) [Lauryn Hill cover intro] / Seafence
  3. ?
  4. Judy & the Alpha Queen
  5. Owl Prowls in Elm Village
  6. Men, Voice, War
  7. The Honey Bee

Miniature Tigers were next. I'd initially confused them with Twin Tigers, a more grating psych-rock act I saw open for Minus the Bear once, so I was pleased when the Mini version came out on stage and played something decidedly different. This might sound like lazy journalism, but their vocalist–looking like Win Butler, but donning a poncho–sounded like, well, Brian Bonz. Perhaps it was similar influences, but his voice had distinct, airy similarities, but the music that backed him began to feel tired and too meandering about halfway through. A Jimi Hendrix cover made no exception. By this end, it seemed I, and the rest of the crowd, were more than ready for Kansas's sons to come out–but not before a half-decent closing number where Bonz and a few of the Major Crimes came out to assist, as well as a wiry, dancing, Spiderman-costumed figure.

The Get Up Kids offered a sonic rush of a PA-played intro while they walked out onto stage and modestly waved to the crowd. They then busted into a surprisingly aggressive and well-excecuted take of "Tithe", the opening cut from their newest effort, There Are Rules. Fair enough the band would play a half-dozen tracks from the album...they're on tour supporting it, after all. But, to put it kindly, most of the Rules tracks were politely ignored by the audience. Single "Automatic" was received with a few swaying motions down on the floor, but it was clear that this album has not really been given a fair shake by the long-time fans yet. And if it has been, it splashed outside the cup.

It was really only when the band offered the play of songs from the timeless Something to Write Home About where the frenzy started. In fact, that album got the heaviest representation (seven songs), where only three total from On a Wire and Guilt Show were included. "Action & Action", the sixth song in the set, finally sprung the audience completely loose–a wild push-pit up front ensued, and proceeded to likely annoy the shit out of anyone just trying to sing along. Of course, all action would cease if a Rules song came through. But toward the end of the set, when the Warped Tour mosh had become habitual and an apparent surprise to the eyes of the GUK (as well as one sole, successful stage dive), frontman Matt Pryor felt compelled to caution everyone. "This is the kind of stuff kids in the hardcore scene would call 'pussy shit,'" a self-effacing Pryor cracked. Any way he sliced it, however, the band played these decade-old heartbreakers with the same conflicting contrast of reckless abandon and demure spirit they've done intermittently for so long.

If one could avoid the needless shoving, there was a lot of enjoyment to be had basking in the cathartic but melodic glow of one of emo's pinnacles. Honestly, Rules' tracks, despite their reactive neglect, did sound better live than on record, even with keyboard ops stowed in the back and on the side and James Dewees' sprightly presence lacking (dude's presently touring with My Chemical Romance, if I'm correct). But they jibed well with the classics, which for many seemed to be the set's saving, nostalgic grace.

Set list (10:02-11:13):
  1. Tithe
  2. I'm a Loner Dottie, A Rebel
  3. Regent's Court
  4. Coming Clean
  5. Automatic
  6. Action & Action
  7. Overdue
  8. Shatter Your Lungs
  9. Red Letter Day
  10. Woodson
  11. Pararelevant
  12. Close to Home
  13. Mass Pike
  14. Shorty
  15. Holy Roman
  16. Campfire Kansas
  17. Rememorable
  18. Don't Hate Me
  19. I'll Catch You
    Encore (11:14-11:27):
  20. Beer for Breakfast [the Replacements cover]
  21. Holiday
  22. No Love
  23. Ten Minutes